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Beating a person for doing wrong only hammers the badness in.–Native American teaching.

“Jesus of Nazareth told us to say these twelve words when we prayed: ‘Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us.’ … And for those words alone, he deserves to be called ;the Prince of Peace.”― Atheist Kurt Vonnegut, If This Isn’t Nice, What Is?: Advice for the Young

Kurt Vonnegut, Christ-Loving Atheist

There is no shortage of people on and off the worldwide web who make it their duty to uncover and make public every stumble each of us has made as we learn to walk as human beings should walk.

In 1968 I met a young man by chance who asked if it was okay to sleep in the park. I asked him why. He said his father had told him, “My way or the highway.”

Bruno Weckerle, . A chance meeting changed both our lives for the better.

One day I felt as if something wonderful had left the world. The next day I got a call from Bruno’s sister telling me had passed the day before. “He spoke of you as one of the good things in his life,” she said.

Reg Hartt in 1968.

I said, “The police can arrest you as a vagrant. It is supposed to rain. You can come with me but you should know before you walk in that I am queer and am living with queers. No one will bother you but you should know that before you walk  in.”

Bruno lived with me for a month. One day he took me to a party. There I met a fellow reading a book. I asked, “What is that?”

He said, “THE I CHING.”

He spoke of it. The next day I bought the first of many copies (I kept giving it away). Asked about his primary influences Bob Dylan said, “The I Ching.”

THE I CHING teaches that the best of us forgive both the conscious and the unconscious misdeeds of others upon our person BEFORE they happen.

This means we  do not allow the arrows others shoot to wound us.

We don’t need to wear a costume to be a hero.

The only super power we need is the power to forgive.

The song goes “God forgives. I don’t.” The meanspirited among us love that.

But God does NOT forgive unless we do.

Reading that I decided to forgive everyone everything. I was 22. In three days I will be 74. I still forgive.

As for those who refuse to, well, the best are always in the minority. As for the rest, despite the vastness of their numbers they are beneath consideration.

I came to Toronto still in my terrified teens. A friend whose prostitute mother put him to work at ten fellating her customers helped me get a job at a bank.

I was told to call a man and tell him his account was over drawn. Banks used to do that then. The assistant manager said with a grin, “You will like him.”

At noon in walked the tallest most effeminate man I had ever seen. Everyone behind the bank counter treated him with contempt. I followed their lead.

This went on for a few weeks. My sense of self contempt rightly grew.

Finally I asked the man if we could meet.

He came to my place. He told me the story of his life. It was a hard story. He told me the story of the play he had fashioned out of that life. When he left I said to him, “You know tomorrow when you walk into the bank I am going to treat you the same way as always.”

He said with quiet acceptance, “Yes, I know. We all have to grow at our own speed.”

Had he called me a coward I could have gone on being a coward. Had he replied with anger I could have continued along the same path.

But he did not.

The result was that he caused me to sprout up the extra half inch it takes to stop being a boy. I became a man.

He never noticed the change the next day when he walked in and I said to him, “Hi, Jack.”

Everyone behind that counter did.

From that moment they heaped their contempt on me.

It was easy to bear.

I had gotten rid of my self contempt.

Jack’s name was John Herbert Brundage.

He is better know as John Herbert   .

The play he wrote was titled FORTUNE AND MEN’S EYES:  .

Most of us are the woman caught in the act of adultery dragged before Jesus with the question,  “Moses in the Law says we stone such as these. What do you say?” to which Jesus replied, “Let the one among you without sin cast the first stone.”

At that they all slink away.

Yes, the things these men did when younger were foolish.

It is the prerogative of the young which all of us once were to be foolish.

Our legal system does not work.

Our prisons in Canada and The United States serve only to pound the badness in.

It is one thing to play a hero or a superhero in a movie or TV show where all it takes is a good body and a pair of tights and a stunt person or CGI steps in when the going gets rough.

It is quite another to BE a hero in real life where stunt people don’t step in and CGI can’t create the illusion we are doing something we are not.

In the grace with which he has accepted his fall from grace Hartley Sawyer is showing himself to be a true hero.

Mark Wahlberg continues to live an inspirational life.

Jesus of Nazareth was and remains the most heroic being who ever lived.

When we face him at the Last Judgment we will all hear, “You saw me hungry, thirsty, homeless, naked, sick, in prison, a stranger.”

Some of us will hear, “And you helped me.” The rest will hear, “And you passed me by.”

All of us will answer, “When did we help you,” or “When did we pass you by.”

The reply will be for the best, “What you did to the least you did to me.” The rest will hear, “What you did not to the least you did not to me.”

I know a little bit about the impossibility of forgiveness.

For decades I have been the target of a single minded campaign of hate which has been documented by this country’s newspaper of record, THE GLOBE AND MAIL:     .

A street person I helped said, “I have been offered money to tear down the posters you put him, more money to break your legs and more money to kill you. If I have been offered this others have.”

Albert Einstein said, “The world is a dangerous place to live; not because of the people who are evil, but because of the people who don’t do anything about it.”

Martin Luther King Jr. said, “Worse than the deeds of our enemies is the silence of our friends.”

I have heard the deafening silence of my friends.

THE I CHING teaches the best are on the side of those whom the world despises, the poor, the powerless. All of us who find ourselves the targets of wagging tongue learn we are powerless to stop them.

“Be still. Vengeance is mine. I will repay you,” says THE LORD in THE BIBLE.

We are called to forgive. We are called to do good to those who do evil to us. This I had to admit I could not do. I had to ask God in prayer for the gift of forgiveness.

I got it in the same quiet voice with which John Herbert said, “Yes, I know. We all have to grow at our own speed.”

As for those who turn their back on forgiveness, well, I would not want to be in their shoes.

God is going to kick the butt of the good people who remain silent.

Jane Jacobs was my friend. She said, “The greatest enemy is those who choose to remain silent when all must speak.”

She was/is right.

Still this truth remains.

We must all grow at our own speed.

The best way to change this world is by allowing it to crucify us.

–Reg Hartt

John Herbert was more man than most men will ever be.

FORTUNE AND MEN’S EYES remains the only play by a Canadian author the entire world has stood up and saluted. It shows dramatically our our prison system pounds the badness in.

Fortune And Mens Eyes : Cinema Quad Poster





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